The frequency and intensity with which the future of the quarterback position has been discussed in Pittsburgh is not surprising given its relative importance. While all recognize that the Pittsburgh Steelers are in the midst of a championship window, there are those who would seek to create a clean bridge to their next one simply by finding the successor to the franchise quarterback spot. Assuming there is a worthy candidate.
But Pittsburgh is far from alone among those football cities wringing their hands over who the team’s next quarterback is going to be, nor are they unique among the cities with established starters. The rivals, the Baltimore Ravens, have hinted at a potential interest in the position as well.
While Joe Flacco is technically under contract through the 2021 season, the Ravens cannot help but be aware of the reality that they have not made the postseason for three straight seasons, and have in fact reached the playoffs once since they won the Super Bowl in 2012. Or, since they signed Flacco to a big new contract.
The quarterback’s own struggles have been as much a part of the team’s inability to return to the playoffs as anything else, including another late-season failure. He had an opportunity to close out a win in the finale that would have locked up a postseason berth but failed—and then the defense failed even more spectacularly.
General Manager Ozzie Newsome has hinted that Baltimore could “surprise” with their pick in the first round, and his assistant and general manager in waiting, Eric DeCosta, also said that they would take a quarterback that was “really too good to pass up”.
While it depends upon how the draft ends up breaking, the Ravens do hold the 16th pick in the first round, and it’s certainly possible that one of the top six or so quarterbacks reaches that far. Perhaps even the fourth quarterback could be available by that point.
The Ravens have scheduled a pre-draft visit with Lamar Jackson, who bears some similarities to another quarterback that they have drafted in Tyrod Taylor, now back in the AFC North with the Cleveland Browns. Might he be a Raven in a couple of weeks?
Newsome did say that they probably did not spend more time on the quarterback position this year that they normally do, but did add that there are more high-quality candidates that there ordinarily are, which forces them to do their homework.
The Ravens went very heavy on the defensive side of the ball in the draft last year, but their offense lagged behind. Whether or not it’s the quarterback position, they need to do more to address that side of the ball. A tight end is likely to be a high priority in the draft, and running back could be in play in the first round as well.